Try as I might, it’s been one of those setback phases these past couple of days or so. No matter how hard I’ve worked to stay positive, to keep doing, saying and thinking the right things, there’s been an ongoing feeling of doom, that I’m not good enough. For anything.
It’s familiar territory so it’s not quite as scary as it used to be. I’ve become used to living feeling very sad for no discernible reason and very adept at hiding it from others.
Walking down the street, especially in the rain, makes it easy. Nobody bats an eyelid when they see a miserable face walking by. In the wet and thundery weather, it’s also relatively simple to hide another tell-tale sign of depression. How you look.
When I’m feeling so low about myself, everything about my appearance suffers. For a start, toiletries can take a hike. I do generally get up and have at least a wash, as I can’t stand the feeling of a dirty face or other parts of the body. But deodorant? Moisturisers? It’s not even thought of.
My hair is left straggly, unwashed for days, seen by me as an immaterial part of myself and paid no attention. Why do I do it – or, as it seems, not do it? Well, at the time, for whatever reason, I kind of feel that it’s all I deserve. Difficult to explain but I guess the way I look is mirroring the way I feel.
As for the clothes, well, smart, stylish, attractive is out of the window. Functional, comfortable, anonymous is all that I want. No tight or figure hugging wear, or anything remotely showing my body in a positive light. Generally everything bar the underwear is at least a size too big – including footwear. And definitely no jewellery.
Despite the apparent randomness of the appearance, it’s a carefully constructed look to ensure people are kept away from me. When I’m in this headspace, visitors are an unwelcome intrusion, even though that’s the very time I need someone with me. What a tangled web the mind weaves.
Currently, it’s a comfortable, neutral coloured top I’m wearing. Knee length shorts and flip-flops. I have, though, bathed today, and the deodorant and moistureiser was liberally applied. I’m fighting that bad feeling. I may be depressed but at least I smell nice.
Appearance also comes from a multitude of other things too. As I was wandering around looking for work today, the drookit weather meant lots of people were walking quickly, and under as much cover as they could find if they didn’t have a brolly.
I, however, was walking slowly, my shoulders slouched, feeling desperately low in my mind. As the rain came down, it didn’t really matter whether I was walking under cover or not. Every few hundred yards, I also sighed to myself, for no apparent reason.
It’s all giving out one message. I’m ugly, I’m useless, stay away from me. When you’re in the grip of depression, these are all truths, and it’s a message you wish to convey to others without communicating with them in any way, shape or form verbally.
It’s also a truth that I really don’t want people to stay away, that perhaps deep down I realise I’m not useless or inadequate, that I know it’s my mind doing it to me. It’s a classic subconscious plea for help without really knowing a better way of saying it. Of somehow feeling shame in needing help.
I’m not alone, of course, in having the way I look being the barometer of my mental health. In the world of showbiz, Britney Spears, even if she didn’t have a billion trashy magazine articles gossiping about it, makes it obvious by the way she looks when she’s in the grip of psychological trauma. At least being a nobody I have the blanket of anonymity to hide me from the world.
It’s a simple world we live in, really, but made complicated by our own actions. Even down to what shoe we put on, or what bracelet needs to go on what wrist, appearances can deceive and repel, when all that’s really needed is something to look presentable in.
Now where did that One Direction tank top disappear to? See, I told you I was depressed …..